Monday, August 25, 2014

Elements #7

Start valuing the lessons your mistakes teach you. Mistakes are okay; they are the stepping stones of progress. If you're not failing from time to time, you're not trying hard enough and you're not learning. Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again. Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing, and improving. Significant achievements are almost invariably  realized at the end of a long road of failures. One of the "mistakes" you fear might just be the link to your greatest achievement yet. 

I'm one of those people who try to see "mistakes" as lessons in life. Relationships, choices, money spent unwisely, these are all things I've done and can be seen as mistakes. They can also be seen as lessons in life. But I don't believe these are the kinds of mistakes I'll delve into. Instead I'll touch on  the ones that really hit something important.

I never took the time to mourn some of the people I have lost. My father (Bob), my grandparents, and many others who are not blood related, but were still important to me. October 13, 2003. October 1, 2004. November 3, 2007. February 11, 2010. April 24, 2012. August 11, 2014. All of these are the ones I never took the time to reflect on. Never took the moments to cry over. I only attended one funeral in this list and I spent more time during that month scraping to pay the bills than grieving over the loss of someone special. A lesson to be learned in this is that it's important to take the time, even if you are far away, to sit in silence, to remember the kindnesses, to smile about the laughter. It is traditional to take a day of remembrance on October 31. Generally it is for the ones who have passed away during the previous year, but I think this year I will take that time for all who are gone.

I threw love away with both hands. There was a person, I'll call her "Briar" who loved me through a time that was pretty crappy for me and I let her go. When a previous love came back into my life, I turned toward them and left "Briar" standing alone with no one beside her. In the years that followed I kept thinking that I'd made the right choice and perhaps that was why I tried so hard to make it work with the other person, but looking back now... it looks like a humongous mistake. We didn't work out. There were tensions and tears and heartaches and headaches. In the end there were lies and leaving. Perhaps I'd have had these things with "Briar", too, but I will never know. Lesson? Perhaps it's as simple as not letting the past come back into your life. Perhaps it's just to stop and think before you do something as rash as breaking another person's heart. I'm not really sure.

I put my dreams on a shelf and didn't pull them down again to dust them off. I ended up so wrapped in trying to keep the bills paid, trying to keep a relationship stable, and trying to raise my kids, that I forgot about my dreams of being a healer. The few times I stepped toward that shelf (Reiki classes, Crystal Healing classes), something happened (or was said) that would make me feel that my dreams weren't worth the energy I wanted to put into them. Lesson? Even if you only keep the tiniest of sparks of your dreams, tend them carefully and never let them go dark. Whisper to them so that they know that you are still wanting them in your life. Feed them, even if it's with only the smallest crumbs of your life. Don't let your dreams die.

I have several other thoughts going through my head about the mistakes I've made, but I can't put them on here for the whole world to see.

I am far from over making mistakes. In fact I'm currently planning one that might be a huge mistake but I won't know that for several years. Dream big, make the possible mistake, and hold yourself high and dream a little more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Endings and beginnings

Throughout our lives there have been so many pages turned and new chapters started. Currently, my youngest child has entered her final year in high school. An end to her K-12 education, a beginning of her adult life. My oldest child has just hit the road to head west. An ending to this vacation, a beginning to his time in a place he feels at home. And through all of it, I try to smile at the changes even as I want to cry a little.

This past few weeks has been filled with huge changes for a lot of people. Children returning to school, others losing a family member (I didn't know her well, but she was always kind to me and my children and I am really sorry to know that she isn't sharing her smile with everyone anymore), decisions made about futures, and dreams being rebuilt. Life is tumultuous and chaotic and filled with wonder. Even during the darker times there is still beauty and joy. It might be harder to see, but it is there.

In my heart, even through the tears that are threatening to spill over, I truly hope you all have a very good day. I hope you all find peace when you stop a moment and breathe. I hope you all find a reason to smile, then a reason to pass that smile forward.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Elements #2

Start facing your problems head on. It isn't your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them. Problems will not disappear unless you take action. Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you've done. It's all about taking baby steps in the right direction, inch by inch. These inches count, they add up to yards and miles in the long run.

Over the years I've learned more about how I react to the problems in my life. There were times when I would ignore a problem, sweeping it under the rug and run away from the situation. Interestingly enough, I've also come to realize that those times of "running away" were necessary. My ex-husband was not going to stop doing drugs unless something drastic occurred. My roommate was not going to treat me or my children any different just because I talked to him about it. And... most recently, my boyfriend (still not sure if that was the right word) wasn't going to stop the activities he was involved in even though I was clear about the toxicity I felt from them. This isn't an attack on any of those people, only pointing out that in these situations, there wasn't room for compromise without destroying one party or another. My action was to move out and move on.

There are other areas where I can see that the fault lies squarely with me. Moving to another state without thinking it completely through caused major repercussions through the last decade and I'm still cleaning up that mess. Granted, there are some areas where I'll not be able to "fix" the damaged parts, but I'm doing my best to bring those out into the light and mend them the best I can.

For now, there are other areas where I can see how easy it is to fall into an old habit and I like to think that I've grown past needing that temporary bandage. I also like to think that I can create better habits with dealing with problems and challenges. I know that I'm far from perfect, and that I have a long road ahead, but I believe in the power of Me.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Elements #5

Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly. Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are. Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths, and beauty like no one else, Be the person you know yourself to be - the best version of you - on your terms. Above all, be true to You, and if you cannot put your heart into i, take yourself out of it.

I think about how I had been in the past and it makes me wonder who "I" really am. I know that each of us has the choice of how to behave each day and how we will deal with situations that arise and I try to make the best decisions I can. But in the middle of that, how can I be more "myself" than I am already being? If you really stop to think... we are exactly who we are at every given moment. Yes, even the less-than-stellar times.

All the times I was at my worst, it was still me. It might have been a really crappy point in my life and I may have been at an extremely low place, but it was still Me. And, during those moments, when my life was falling apart on all fronts and I made decisions, begged someone to stay with me, considered ending my own life, that was the strongest I could be. Even though I did something I look back on and cringe about, I recognize that my actions that day were the best that I could do at that moment. Just as they were on all of the really challenging times.

Don't get me wrong, there have been times when I made a choice that I could really say was a shining moment. When I left an abusive relationship (more than one), when I stood up for someone else who didn't have the strength to stand on their own, when I supported a large household with the small paycheck I got, when I took a deep breath and drove away from a mostly-stable life to a future that was completely unwritten. These were moments when I was genuinely Me, just as much as the darker times.

I also think about the direction I can turn my life right now. In less than a year I will be in a position that I never, in my 42 years, have been. Alone. For the first time I will be living in a house with no other human. I wonder what changes that will bring within my Self and how I will react to them. I can hope, of course, that those changes will be positive and uplifting. Even so, I know that I need to be honest with myself and accept the times when I react in a negative way and recognize that those reactions are just as Me as the positive ones.

So... even though I'm pretty tired right now, I do hope this all makes sense to anyone reading it. I also hope that you can take a moment and think about how very special you are.


Thursday, August 07, 2014

Vanity? No.

As some of you know, I have had rosacea for several years. Of course, at first I didn't know what it was, I just assumed that I was breaking out because of stress and diet. However, even with drastic changes to my makeup, water consumption, and food intake (removed dairy, grains, meats, and a whole slew of things, just not all at the same time) in a systematic way, nothing changed. After a while my face looked like I was having an allergic reaction to something pretty big. So, on the advice of a friend, I began using a product called Lumière de Vie Illuminating Fading Fluid by Motives (if you're interested, I can tell you how to get it, but this isn't an attempt to sell it, please read on). I was more than a little happy that it seemed to be working and, after a couple months of using it consistently, my face had cleared up significantly.

Now, what you might not know is that there is no cure for rosacea. It progresses over time and gets worse over the years. Unfortunately, it can also cause some serious issues with your vision, thickening of the skin, rhinophyma, and more. So, it's not just a vanity issue for many people who have it.

But I couldn't keep paying that hefty price for the Lumière product and, after I took the picture you see above, I had to stop buying it. As I expected, the redness came back and I thought that I'd have to seek medical treatment in the hopes that I'd be able to get the insurance to cover the cost of whatever they prescribed. At the same time I was pretty sad that I'd have to rely on insurance for something like this. So I started to experiment.

I searched for "home remedies" and over the counter products to see which ones had the highest ratings and compared ingredients and cost. I tried a few different products and even made a few concoctions of my own. Through that time, my face steadily got more and more red and I knew that I had to keep trying. Finally, I was about to give up when I tried one last ingredient to see if it would help. And it did! 

And for multiple payments to a private account, you can have the secret, too! Act now and you'll get a free gift that isn't worth the shipping costs to get it to your mailbox! For a limited time you will also get the secrets to making your own facial cleanser and moisturizers!

I'm only kidding. I just couldn't resist the "sales" pitch. There are no free gifts and there are thousands of free recipes for making your own beauty & household products online. Really! Google can be a wonderful search engine.

In all seriousness, I began applying honey & water (a pea-sized drop of honey and a few drops of water mixed in the palm of my hand) to my face each night. I figured that the antibacterial properties might help since some doctors think rosacea is caused by a bacteria. Honey is also a skin soother and several other awesome things. I'd leave it on overnight and rinse it off in the morning. After one week there was a visible difference in the redness. A week later, there was hardly any redness at all. 

Here is a picture taken a week after I started the honey treatment (this was around June 10th, I think). I don't have any facial makeup on and it was a bright day so you can see a little bit of the redness on my cheeks and around my nose.It was also a warm day (and I've discovered that my face flushes more easily than it used to). The dryness also seems to be going away.

Now it's almost two months later and the redness hasn't returned. I've continued the daily honey "treatment" while I've eaten spicy foods, been out in the sun, been under stress, and several other rosacea "triggers" and am still not showing signs of any kind of flare up. Now there is a bottle of honey that will remain in my bathroom just for my face. I will also experiment with mixing it with beneficial oils and such just to see what else I come up with and I'll post about the results every now and then.

Please note: I am well aware that this might not work for everyone and that anyone with an allergy to bees might actually have serious problems with this. But it's worth looking into. Especially if you can't (or choose not to) buy a $70 product every month.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Elements #11

Start giving your ideas and dreams a chance. In life, it's rarely about getting a chance, it's about taking a chance. You'll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure that doing nothing won't work. Most of the time you just have to go for it! And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be. Either you succeed or you learn something. Win-win.

I think this one is a little hard for a lot of us. Day in and day out we go through the motions of trading time for money, trading money for living, and trading living for existing. Crazy, right? But sometimes we have an idea that might change all of that. Not that the idea will make a million dollars, but that it might actually make a difference. For example, these disaster kits. The idea is pretty straightforward, and it can help a lot of people in need of them (please check out their site and have a look around.) What ideas do you have? What dreams and goals do you have? Are you giving them a chance? You might be surprised at what happens along the way.

More than four years ago I had the crazy idea of dyeing my own yarn to get the colors I was looking for. A couple of people told me that it was a great idea and nudged me to try it out and sell them. I was about as afraid as a person could be, but they believed in me and I moved forward with it. Alina Shea Creations was born. And is still going. Last month I even launched the Superheroes & Villains yarn "club" and am really looking forward to playing with the colors for each character. Granted, ASC still has a lot of  room for improvement, but I gave it a chance and ended up meeting so many wonderful people because of it.

I've got to cut this short since I'm still in recovery mode (from lung issues) and need to get a few other things taken care of. I do hope you all find a way to give your ideas a chance!

Friday, August 01, 2014


Now that I'm a little more calm, I wanted to post this really quick...

I've been struggling with my sugar levels for a while, as many of you know. in November my Hemoglobin A1C was 5.9 and my glucose was 123. I was really nervous, but was also dealing with recovery of bacterial pneumonia so a part of me didn't really care. 

Well, more blood was recently drawn and now my Hemoglobin A1C is 5.5 and my glucose is 93. I feel on top of the world right now. All I want at this moment is to go home, hug my kids and keep on smiling.

I know I still have a way to go with my weight (in order to keep my heart from going south), but I will get that taken care of as soon as I'm past this round of pneumonia. And, with the medications I'm on now, I'm sure I'll be just fine by next weekend.

I truly hope you all have a wonder-filled day.